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) --

Bank of America


said it has agreed to sell 13.1 billion shares in

China Construction Bank

(CCB) in a private transaction to a group of investors for approximately $8.3 billion in cash.

The sale will generate an after-tax gain of $3.3 billion. Bank of America will continue to hold about 5% in CCB.

The move was widely anticipated as Bank of America attempts to reassure investors that it is well capitalized. The bank has said it will not have to raise more money but has been selling off non-core assets to boost its regulatory capital levels.

The sale of the CCB stake is expected to generate an additional $3.5 billion in Tier1 Common Capital and reduce risk weighted assets by $7.3 billion under Basel I rules.

"This month alone, through non-core asset sales and other actions, we expect to generate approximately $5.8 billion in additional Tier 1 common capital and reduce risk-weighted assets by approximately $16.1 billion under Basel I," CFO Bruce Thomson said in a statement.

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The current proposed Basel III standards place restrictions on capital that represents ownership in financial institutions above 10 percent. The sale of CCB shares would remove the significant investment in financial institutions deduction from the company's Tier 1 common capital under Basel III, the bank said.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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